All the tips and tricks I've heard around the blogosphere repeat that pillows are excellent ways to 1) add color, 2) change things cheaply, 3)tie the room together ("It really tied the room together, man"). Cheap? Have they met my budget? Sorry, but $40 for a case (not even the pillow!) is a little eensy bit out of my price range. The flip side is, buying fabric (and pillow forms) aren't that much cheaper. womp womp BUT. If you buy fabric long enough ago that you don't remember how much it was and your husband doesn't remember you buying it THEN it's basically free! Right?! I bought a few fat quarters from the local fabric store (support local!) and sat down to sew my little heart out. I loved this fabric- the little yellow anchors just made me smile- but it was hard to turn down the purple/beige animal print too. They were both so small that I wasn't crazy about putting them together. But, I'm young and I live on the dangerous side- so if I didn't put them on the same side together, I thought it might work.
I think it did.
I am loving the trend of having some sort of graphic on your pillow, and I feel that I'm pretty well-versed in painting fabric. Over time, though, paint cracks, fades, peels, transfers, etc. And I didn't want that on a pillow. So I tried a little simple applique.
Using some felt I had inherited (thanks Grandma!), I free-handed a little Ripley silhouette. It was the right color, she has the cutest head and I'm just a little smitten with my fur baby. I cut the felt out and laid it on right side of one of my fabrics- just an arbitrary choice at this point. I pinned and sewed the tiniest seam I could possibly make, ensuring the needle was inserted in the fabric each time I had to make a corner. It was much slower going than making a straight seam, but in the end I think it was worth it. The felt only puckered a little bit, but it wasn't necessarily a wrinkle, thus I thought it was worth the hassle.
I faced the two fabric pieces, right side to right side, and pinned along three sides, then sewed a 1/4" seam to allow for some wiggle room. Once I turned the case right-side out, and inserted the pillow form I had, I manually sewed the last side together because I have a lot of embroidery thread, I don't like zippers and I make a mean small stitch. Good enough for my couch!
I was so pleased with my Ripley pillow that I carried it through the house, to the bedroom. Our new duvet cover is fairly blocky and geometrical and our throw pillows are slightly floral. So I needed something with the right colors with some sort of pattern between them, ideally with a personal flair. I've had this gray fabric for a while and though it's slightly floral, it's pretty faint so I figured Mr. E wouldn't have a problem with it.
I executed the same idea as the felt Ripley silhouette- I traced the outline of the state of California in white, then cut a small green heart and pinned and sewed it on Southern California. Both Mr. E and I love Southern California: We met in La Jolla, had adventures all over San Diego, have family in San Marcos, Oceanside and Ramona, live in Orange, will move to LA, etc etc. It was just the perfect tribute, no matter where we may have to move to.
Again, I hand-sewed the last side of the pillow, once the form was in and all. The next pillows I do I'll have to insert a zipper, just to shake it up a little bit!